One of the many (tin) toy companies from Japan whose products have endured over time is Marusan Co. Ltd. We know them by the mark of SAN in a circle.

The Japanese word “Maru” means 'circle', thus the mark of SAN in a circle. But the word “San” also means three, which refers to the 3 founders of this company in 1947. Circles along with diamonds were popular logo marks for Japanese companies at that time as evidenced by the many marks we see within a circle or diamond.

Marusan carInitially, their business was a wholesale sales business, but they eventually began to design and market their own toys. Some of the items on the 1951 sales list for Marusan included the following:
Friction - Small Mercury car
Windups- Tricycle with celluloid doll, rabbit, motorcycle, penguin, helicopter, tank, windmill, fire engine, drum boy, jet airplane, bird clock and an elephant with monkey and umbrella. A very popular toy was the windup Lucky sewing machine with a celluloid girl behind the machine.

Marusan Smoking Bear:


Updated: 7 May 2019

Marusan value and price guide

What's your 'Marusan' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA).

Picture Title Date Sold for
Tin Litho Battery Operated Cadillac 1951 10/2019 $2 363.77
Tin Friction 1951 Cadillac Series 62 07/2019 $1 236.00
Japanese Tin Litho Friction 1951 08/2019 $875.00
Nice Japanese Tin Friction Cadillac 08/2019 $845.00
1951 Cadillac 12 Customized Japanese Tin 08/2019 $687.52

See all sold items for more prices.


Do you want to know more about collectible tin toys, and want to learn about value and identification? Take a look at these books on old toys on Amazon.

Marusan forum

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1 comment

Jim - August 17, 2010
I have one of these Smoking Papa Bear and was wondering if it was worth anything?